Led by the healthy return of Ryan Suter, the Minnesota Wild defense have been lighting the lamp at a torrid pace to start this season.
Ryan Suter recovered from his severe ankle injury faster than projected, and opened the season in his regular spot on the Minnesota Wild top pairing.
Many sports “experts” projected that after such a devastating injury Suter would no longer be the same player he was. That he would struggle to return to the NHL speed and not be able to log the heavy minutes we had come to expect from him.
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Not only is Suter still holding his own on the top offensive D pairing for the Minnesota Wild, he is on pace to shatter his career bests at every offensive statistical category. Suter has 3 goals and 9 assists for 12 points through 12 games this season.
At this pace, he would finish the season with 20 goals and 60 assists. Prior to this season, Suter’s career bests were 9 goals and 45 assists, in different years. Never once finishing with more than 51 points in a season.
It’s not only Suter carrying the offense from the back end. Mathew Dumba has contributed with 3 goals and 6 points, and Jared Spurgeon with 2 goals and 7 points. Jonas Brodin has even chipped in with 2 goals (both Game winners) despite being relied on for heavy defensive minutes against opposing top lines.
Obviously Suter’s scoring pace is not likely to be maintained over the entire season, but he was on pace to break his 51 point season prior to his injury last year. A repeat performance this year will place the wild in a good spot going forward.
Greg Pateryn finished October as the only Minnesota Wild defender with a negative plus/minus, and Nate Prosser only played in a single game. It may be nothing, but there could be something to watch for the future if this is a downward trend starting for Pateryn.